CORRECTED-Russia's Onexim in talks to buy 50 pct in Svyaznoy - paper
(Corrects paragraph 7 to say Blavatnik had considered buying)
MOSCOW Aug 9 (Reuters) - Russia's Onexim group, owned by tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, is in talks to buy half of mobile phone retailer Svyaznoy, Kommersant newspaper said on Friday, citing sources.
Onexim, which owns Renaissance Capital financial group including consumer-lending-focused Renaissance Credit bank, has made a preliminary agreement with Svyaznoy's controlling shareholder Maxim Nogotkov to buy the 50-percent stake, one source said.
Nogotkov is expected to keep the other 50 percent and will focus on retail business expansion at the company, he added.
The deal will boost Onexim's financial assets, the newspaper said.
Russian banks and companies, including mobile operators like MTS, are expanding into consumer lending, offering credit cards, small loans and the possibility of paying for various services like car parking with their mobile phones.
But consumer lending may hide risks, ratings agencies had warned. In May, Standard and Poor's forecast that Russian borrowers may fail to return over 400 billion roubles ($12 billion) in consumer loans to local banks this year.
Earlier this year, a Russian newspaper reported that billionaire U.S. industrialist Leonard Blavatnik had considered buying a stake in Svyaznoy for $200 million.
Svyaznoy, whose main rival is Russia's biggest mobile phone retailer Euroset, has been considering going public or selling a stake to investors. ($1 = 32.9037 Russian roubles) (Reporting by Katya Golubkova; editing by Elizabeth Piper)
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